Thanks to our speedy local librarians I have now finished the first book in Laurie R King´s Mary Russell-series, "The Beekeeper´s Apprentice". I shall not spoil the pleasure for anyone by telling you anything about the plot, but I will say that Mary Russell is the perfect heroine for a bespectacled bookworm. I like her a lot now, I would have loved her if I had read about her when I was seventeen.
The first paragraph is just adorable: "I was fifteen when I first met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and nearly stepped on him. In my defence I must say it was an engrossing book... ".
Mary Russell gets older by four years during the story, but her habit of reading while she walks she keeps until the last pages: "... [I] became even more absentminded until one day as I had my Greek Testament in front of my nose, I walked into a lightpost on the High Street. I found myself sitting stupefied on the ground while people exclaimed over the blood on my face and a young woman held ut my shattered spectacles. I came home from the surgery with a large plaster on my forehead..."
It actually never occured to me that I could read walking... Just as well, probably.
I also loved that she walks on some of the same streets that we walked this summer: "I worked on, and in the afternoon I went out to take coffee in the covered market before an afternoon lecture,..."
Then "... I left the market stalls and walked up Turl Street for the afternoon lecture, only to find my steps slowing as I approached the Broad. ..." and she went "... up Broad Street and past the Sheldonian, ... ".
This would have been her path, Broad Street, in the direction of the Sheldonian:
I have made a note in my calendar, first week of December, to get the next two books about Mary Russell. It would be too easy to become absorbed in them now. I have other things to read, after all!